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Strategy to Stall Montana Legislature Fails, Leads to Table Pounding

Montana Senate
Photo courtesy of Amy the nurse/Flickr

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana senator whose absence in the Legislature led to an uproar says he went home to conduct tribal business, and that his text message notifying a caucus leader that he would be absent was apparently not received.

State Sen. Shannon Augare of Browning returned to the Senate early Saturday as the chamber resumed voting.

A day earlier Democrats publicly announced intentions to halt all business by invoking a parliamentary move that demands every member is present before business can resume. The move could have killed some Republican proposals in danger of missing a procedural deadline.

But Republicans, given several hours to plot a counterstrategy, ignored the Democrats and went ahead with votes, leading the minority party to pound on their desks and shout.

Republicans argue Augare’s absence was orchestrated to stall the chamber.

Republicans said the rules committee will meet Monday to hear complaints on the matter.

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